Welcome to another edition of Yo, Gear Guy!, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF's deputy editor of equipment, Mike Chwasky) fields your hard-hitting questions about clubs, fittings, gadgets, bounce, lofts, CG, MOI, and a bunch of other scary acronyms. Got a question for Gear Guy? Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or email.
Kenny Brown on Facebook: What do you know about the new wedges Tiger is carrying in his bag?
They're the TaylorMade Milled Grind RAW models in 56- and 60-degree lofts. Tiger is famously demanding of his gear and obviously switches very rarely, so it's safe to say the Milled Grind wedges he’s playing have been meticulously tested and adjusted to provide the type of distance control and spin he demands. Tiger also favors a higher spinning golf ball (the Bridgestone Tour B XS) and likes to spin the heck out of his short game shots so if the new sticks are up to his spin and short game performance standards then they’re probably a good option for recreational players too. They certainly worked for Dustin Johnson at the St. Jude a couple weeks ago.
Steve Hirsch on Twitter: I love the look of the new Jordan golf shoes. Do you ever see the brand dominating the golf market the same way it has basketball?
If you're talking about the Air Jordan III that was introduced earlier this year and sold out before it was even available, you’re right, they were pretty cool. However considering the significant price (I think those went for around $225), and the limited runs I'd say it's highly unlikely the Jordan brand will be significant in golf. That being said, if Nike decided to be more aggressive with marketing and sales, who knows where it might go? While they're not something I’d be likely to wear, I'd imagine there are plenty of folks out there, other than Keegan Bradley, who would happily pay for the opportunity.
Ryan Milligi on Facebook: Other than the look, is there really any difference between standard and black finish irons?
The quick answer is no, there shouldn't be any performance difference between standard chrome or matte finish and one of the black finishes offered these days. However, while it's easy to dismiss the all-black finish as frivolous, the coatings developed for products like Callaway’s Rogue Pro Black and Cobra’s King Forged Tec Black irons are a lot more complicated and challenging than you might imagine. In the past black finishes showed wear very quickly, which looked cool but not nearly as pretty as when new. These days black finishes, some of which are derived from military technology, can last almost indefinitely and when you throw in a black matte steel shaft you get a murdered-out look that a lot of folks appreciate.
Taylor Reynolds on Twitter: Turns out I used a women’s golf ball for my entire round last time out without ever knowing it. Is there any big difference I should have been noticing?
The only thing you should have noticed, depending on what ball you normally play, is the softer compression typically featured in golf balls with the "lady," or "women's" label. In general the only significant difference between standard balls and these specialty models was the aforementioned compression, along with a potentially different dimple pattern designed to optimize flight for slower swingers. But with golf ball compression dropping seemingly every year, there’s much less need or use for "women's" golf balls, as many standard offerings from major manufacturers are already very low compression. If you played a ladies model for 18 holes and didn’t notice then it obviously worked pretty well and probably delivered similar performance as your normal gamer.